Saugeen Shores undertakes parking study for downtown cores

The Town of Saugeen Shores is currently undertaking a study to develop parking strategies for the downtown cores of both Port Elgin and Southampton (the work comes from a recommendation in the Town’s 2020 Transportation Master Plan) .
Parking is often seen as one of the basic elements in “… sustaining a healthy downtown and expanding commercial activity within the core.” The purpose of the Paradigm study is three-fold:
  • identify the adequacy of the existing parking supply
  • assess its ability to accommodate future parking demands over the next ten years
  • prepare a parking management strategy.
On January 23rd, two Public Information Centres (PICs) were held in Saugeen Shores, the first in Southampton at the Town Hall and the second at the Plex in Port Elgin.  A third will be held virtually on Wednesday, January 31st at 6:00 p.m. [to request an invite, or to ask questions, please email project staff at].
Approximately 25 people attended the PIC in Southampton, where Erica Bayley of  Paradigm Transportation Solutions Limited of Cambridge presented the draft study report (Phase 2) and answered questions from those residents in attendance.
According to Bayley, the primary objectives and overall scope of the study is to:
  • Quantify the existing municipal on-street and municipal off-street parking supply in the downtown areas of Port Elgin and Southampton
  • Conduct parking utilization and duration surveys to determine parking demand and duration trends for the municipal on-street and municipal off-street parking supply
  • Quantify the adequacy of the existing parking supply
  • Estimate future parking demands in the downtown areas of both Port Elgin and Southampton
  • Develop a range of reasonable, practical, and feasible parking management strategies to accommodate existing and future parking demands.
The project is anticipated to address how the community wants to manage its valuable parking assets by exploring questions, such as:

>  Should the Town expand the supply of parking to address peak demands on summer weekends? >

>  Are there different ways to manage parking demand and/or supply to avoid or defer the costly construction of new municipal lots?

> Are there innovative ways to improve the parking experience for visitors, customers, and employees in the downtown areas?

>With changes to travel behaviour, what does the future of parking look like and how do we prepare for it?

In the study, it was determined that in Port Elgin “… the downtown parking supply consists of 613 spaces, 71% of which are on-street and 29% which are off-street (public lots) … the downtown Southampton parking supply consists of 597 spaces, 85% of which are on-street and 15% in public lots”, all of which are free.

Paradigm performed parking surveys in downtown Port Elgin and Southampton on: Saturday, August 26th (2023) between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM and Wednesday August 30th  between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

One resident questioned the validity of the survey saying that the dates were during a ‘wind-down’ of summer and not indicative of the numbers during tourist season, suggesting that a further study be conducted mid-summer in July/August.

Bayley also said that response to the on-line survey proved to be a source of feedback from residents with more than 400 replying and said that the survey continues. To take part in the survey go to:

To read the complete draft study, Downtown Port Elgin and Southampton Parking Study – Draft Plan .